Mother’s Day 2011

Lynn Dorman, Ph.D. // human interest


May 7  

Ethel Dorman circa 1932

The Original Mother’s Day Proclamation

I post this poem every year but commentary differs.

We have gotten so far away from the original thoughts of Julia Ward Howe and made Mother's Day into yet another day to promote shopping and buying.

[my mom, circa 1932]

We are encouraged to telephone, send cards, send flowers and buy mom all matter of stuff.

I doubt many Mother's Day shoppers even know how this day came to be or that it started as an anti war poem!

Take time this weekend to reflect about what Julia Ward Howe wrote.

Mother's Day Proclamation – 1870
by Julia Ward Howe

Arise then…women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts!

Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!


Say firmly:

"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,

For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We, the women of one country,

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."


From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with

Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor,

Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil

At the summons of war,

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.


Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace…

Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,

But of God –


In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask

That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,

May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient

And the earliest period consistent with its objects,

To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,

The amicable settlement of international questions,

The great and general interests of peace.

Let's elect more mothers and end war!

And in the meantime – let's bring the troops HOME!!


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    About the Author

    Native of NYC who moved a lot, got several degrees, and has been a lifelong writer and reader... I am interested in many things - and I write [and teach] about them - especially the human lifespan and healthy aging

    Lynn Dorman, Ph.D.